Hundreds of professionals representing the green energy, construction, and recycling industries, as well as local and national environmental organizations got together in Puerto Rico this week to present alternatives for sustainable development.
During the first edition of the “EcoExpo Puerto Rico” event, participants discussed ways to strengthen their operations based on eco-friendly solutions, while urging the government and private sector to invest in efficient and renewable energy projects.
Among the guest speakers was former Secretary of State and author of laws in favor of energy development on the island, Kenneth McClintock, who reaffirmed the recent direction the island has taken and emphasized the need to continue developing more solar and wind power projects in Puerto Rico.
“We must continue to promote the construction of wind farms like the ones in Naguabo and Santa Isabel, and other locations in Puerto Rico. We must continue to create large solar farms like the largest in the Caribbean in Guayama and like the second largest to be built in Loíza, and those planned for other locations,” said McClintock.
“We must use our already constructed areas to place hundreds of thousands of solar panels that do not require occupying land with farming potential,” he said. “We must take advantage of built-out areas to place panels on every rooftop of each individual house, which is a potential location to generate solar energy.”
Meanwhile, Alexis Miranda, co-founder of energy consulting firm Gvelop and former director of engineering at the Energy Affairs Administration, said companies need to take a step forward toward energy efficiency and renewable energy to ensure a more stable operational future and be able to shave off thousands of dollars in electricity costs that could be reinvested in other important areas for the business.
“Energy efficiency is a step in the right direction for companies today. The volatility of energy costs forces us to take measures to reduce energy costs in offices, industries and commerce in general,” Miranda said during his presentation.
“As entrepreneurs and building owners, we should conduct studies to find out about our consumption and areas of opportunity that we could develop to our benefit, as well as for our customers and employees,” he added. “There is a wide range of products that allow us to replace our inefficient equipment with high efficiency ones that offer a quick return on investment. It is vital to our economy.”
Finally, Architect Ricardo Alvarez, of Alvarez Diaz-Villalon, the firm that is developing an energy efficiency project at the Minillas Government complex in Santurce, is betting on more energy performance contracting in the future. Through this type of agreement, businesses and government buildings reduce their energy costs significantly, create thousands of jobs and also experience a quick return on investment.
He used the Minillas project as an example, saying once completed, the building will have energy savings of more than 40 percent, which could translate into millions of dollars annually.